Clashes erupted between Shia Mourners and Police during Muharram processions

Clashes erupted between Shia Mourners and Police during Muharram processions

‘Many people have been injured in police action for violating the section 144’

Srinagar, Sep 03: On Sunday, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and paramilitary forces fired teargas canisters and used pellet shotguns at several places in Srinagar to stop Shia mourners from participating in Muharram processions.
Eyewitnesses told Kashmir Glacier that, many Shia mourners were injured in police action as several people received pellet injuries during the forces action on Muharram processions in Srinagar. Many Shia mourners were also detained by police.
Since Friday, security forces have been trying to thwart Muharram processions. They said Shia mourners violated prohibitory orders that bar all religious processions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
A senior police officer told Kashmir Glacier that over a dozen policemen were also injured when mourners resorted to stone-throwing in parts of Valley.
National Conference leader and influential Shia cleric Ruhullah Mehdi said, the behaviour of the police was unacceptable. “I may have my own opinions about processions and SOPs related to it. But this rogue behaviour in the shape of flexing muscles and firing on mourners is un-expectable,” he added.
“The police fired tear smoke shells and pellets to stop the Muharram procession which was going peacefully. Then the forces resorted to pellet guns and tear gas shelling on the Shia mourners which led to chaos as many mourner’s suffered pellet injuries,” said a resident of Zadibal on condition of anonymity.
He said that nearly six mourners were also taken into custody by the police.
He further added that, “The police action angered the mourners and they started chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans and engaged the cops in pitched battles. Due to the clashes, the adjoining localities presented the look of a battleground.”
According to the witnesses, the clashes in the area continued till late evening leaving around 35 people injured, five of them with serious pellet wounds in the face and eyes.
The injured were removed to the nearby Imam Hussain (AS) hospital for treatment. However, from there they were taken to SMHS hospital.
An official at Imam Hussain hospital on condition of anonymity said that, “Our OPD received over 30 injured mourners, some of them with pellets. Since, we don’t have adequate arrangements in place, the mourners went to Budgam and Srinagar hospitals for treatment.”
The traditional Muharram procession, to mark the 10-day Muharram mourning period used to pass through various areas of Srinagar and outskirts have been banned since the eruption of militancy in 1990, as authorities maintain that the religious gatherings have been used for propagating separatist politics in the region.

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